Update for the week Thursday, March 2 - Thursday, March 9, 2017


FRIDAY, 3/3 – This Friday we will pray the Akathist (Madayeh) at 7:00 pm. The Akathist service will also be held on Fridays, March 10, 17 and 31.

SATURDAY, 3/4 – Please come to the church this Saturday morning, March 4, starting at 9:30 am to help make Spinach Triangles with the Women's Club.   Lots of help will be needed – young and old, women and men are all welcome - and it's always lots of fun.  Lunch will be provided.  

   + Chant class at St. Mary’s at 3:30pm.

   + Great Vespers at 5:00pm

   + Young Adults fellowship night following Vespers. 

SUNDAY, 3/5, Sunday of Orthodoxy - Orthros 8:45 am, Divine Liturgy 10:00 am; Church School short music lesson

   + Bible Bowl informational meeting for parents, pre-teens and teens right after church in the Library.  This year there will be two teams: a Pre-Teen (ages 10-12) Team and a Teen (ages 13-19) Team  Practice Sessions will begin next Sunday, March 12, right after church in the Library.  We will be studying the Gospel of Mark as printed in the Orthodox Study Bible.  Participants must be present for all sessions. The Bible Bowl will be held at our Diocesan Parish Life Conference in June.

   + Preordered items from the Women’s Club Lenten Food Sale may be picked up after Liturgy

WEDNESDAY, 3/8 – Presanctified Liturgy 6:30, followed by Potluck Supper sponsored by the Hospitality Group.

   + Do come to the Potluck Supper and bring something to share.  Any Lenten fare is welcome:  main courses, sides, salads, desserts, as well as beverages and snacks.  This is a wonderful opportunity for fellowship during Lent, plus we get to sample each other's Lenten recipes.  Contact Diana Yousef (yousefd@post.harvard.edu ) or Melissa Nassiff (mnassiff@gmail.com ) if you have any questions.

THURSDAY, 3/9 - The Bible Study group will meet next Thursday at 7:00pm in the church library.  

At this meeting and throughout Lent we will be discussing the book, "The Divine Dance" by Richard Rohr.  New members are always welcome. Our next meeting will be Thursday, March 23.


SERMON SCHEDULE - This month a number of women from the parish will be sharing their thoughts on “The Iconography of the Great Feasts.” They will focus on the feasts of our Lord, in particular the Nativity, Transfiguration, Pascha, and Pentecost.  Upcoming sermons will be:

3/12 – The Icon of the Feast of the Transfiguration (Homilist: Ioana Popa)

3/19 – The Icon of the Feast of Pascha (Homilist: Melissa Nassiff)

3/26 – The Icon of the Feast of Pentecost (Homilist: TBD)

DONATIONS FOR HOLY WEEK – For the special services of Holy Week, the Church needs donations of olive oil for the Unction Service (Wednesday), flowers for the tomb of Christ (Friday), flowers to distribute on Great and Holy Friday, rose water to anoint the faithful (Friday), incense, Paschal lilies and other flowers,  and candles. Deadline is Palm Sunday, April 9. Please use the donation form in the Bulletin.

BAKE SALE – The Women’s Club will hold their annual Pascha Bake Sale on Sunday, April 2. Plan on purchasing all your Pascha/Easter desserts, pastries and goodies.  If you can help bake please call Marilyn Robbat at 781-729-3033 or e-mail the church office at secretary@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org  

FISH DINNER – The annual Palm Sunday Fish Dinner, sponsored by the Hospitality Group and donated by Ed and Lisa Brylczyk, will be held on Sunday, April 9.

MARRIAGE WORKSHOP – The Diocese of Worcester and New England will host a “Marriage Preparation and Enrichment” Workshop on Saturday, April 22, to be held here at St. Mary’s, from 10am-3pm. The Workshop leader will be Bishop JOHN.  This workshop is open to anyone, not just those getting married.  Register by April 15.  To register, email (secretary@stmaryrthodoxchurch.org) with your name and phone number or call Barbara @ 617-547-1234.  This workshop is free of charge.


WOMEN’S MONTH - March is Antiochian Women’s Month. Our women will be reading the Epistle, taking the Collection each Sunday, and assisting during Communion.  We invite all women of St. Mary Church to be included – if you are able to participate, please sign up on the sheet at the Bengarri or contact Marilyn Robbat at 781-729-3033 or mbtrobbat@gmail.com, or the church office at 617-547-1234 or secretary@stmaryorthodoxchurch.org

FOOD FOR HUNGRY PEOPLE - The 2017 Food for Hungry People program of our Archdiocese began with the start of Great Lent on Monday, February 27. Collection Boxes for use at home are on the Bengarri; please fill them during Lent and return them on Palm Sunday, April 9. “Whoever gives a hand to help his neighbor is helped by God’s own hand.” (St. Isaac the Syrian)

PARISH COUNCIL – The next meeting of the Parish Council is scheduled for Thursday, March 16, at 7:30. Any parishioners who wish to attend are welcome.

TEEN SOYO RETREAT – There will be a Diocese of Worcester and New England 2017 Teen SOYO Retreat, entitled “Packing My Lenten Lunchbox,” Friday-Sunday, March 31-April 2.  All teens Grades 7-12 are invited to attend.  Location:  Saint Methodios Faith and Heritage Center, Contoocook, NH. Cost:  $95/teen, $50/advisor.  Register by March 17.  For information contact Fr. Joseph Kimmett, geonorwood@aol.com or John Abud, abudjohn@gmail.com.

LENTEN WOMEN’S RETREAT - Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, Allston, MA invites you to a Lenten Women’s Retreat on Saturday, March 18 9:00 am-4:00 pm.  Fr. Maximos of Simonopetra Monastery and Holy Cross will speak on Reflections on the Prayer of St. Ephraim.  For information visit www.hrocboston.org .

ANNUNCIATION – Evening Liturgy for the Feast of the Annunciation to the Theotokos is Friday, March 24 at 6:30 pm

   + Our Lady of the Annunciation Melkite Church, West Roxbury, MA invites you to a celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation on Sunday, March 26 at 12:00noon, after Liturgy.   Homemade Food, Coffee and dessert, $15/person.  Free parking.

PYSANKY (UKRAINIAN EGG) WORKSHOP: The Hospitality Group invites you to join us on April 1 or 2 (one or both afternoons) to learn the beautiful art of Ukrainian Easter egg coloring. Seraphim Davis has generously offered to teach. We are offering two afternoons because last year people needed more time to finish, but participation does not require attending both dates. If you are interested, please respond ASAP to Diana Yousef (yousefd@post.harvard.edu) with the following information: (1) which afternoon(s) would you attend? (2) Will you need a kit with the materials? (3) Will you need childcare? (NOTE: We might need to cap participation, to keep the numbers manageable, so please respond soon with any interest).


   Syrian-Lebanese Women’s club - Scholarships ($1,000) are available from the Syrian-Lebanese Women’s club of Greater Boston to young women of Syrian and Lebanese origin, residing in Massachusetts within 50-mile radius of Boston, who plan to pursue a four-year college education.  Scholarships are based on outstanding academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, charitable and civic involvement and good character; and applicants must be in good academic standing in her school and possess those personal attributes, which best serve the community.  Applications are available through the Church Office and must be postmarked by March 31, 2017.  If you have any questions, contact Mary Winstanley O’Connor at 617-523-1010 or email at moconnor@koilaw.com

   Antiochian Women’s Scholarship - Scholarships are available to females 25 years of age and older in good standing of the Antiochian Archdiocese, actively involved in their parish and who demonstrate need.  The application deadline is June 1, 2017.  Applications are available in the Church Office.  E-mail cindy@nimeys.com with any questions.

CHINESE NEW YEAR BREAKFAST - The Chinese “New Year” Breakfast originally scheduled as a celebration of the Chinese new Year of the Rooster, which fell on January 28 this year, has been postponed to Sunday June 4, coinciding with Church School graduation. A Chinese Dumpling Making Party will be held June 3 and children with adult supervision are welcome. Watch for more details or contact Nelson Mitrophan Chin at mitrophan@orthodox.cn

PARISH LIFE CONFERENCE – The 2017 Diocese of Worcester and New England Parish life Conference will be hosted by St. George Cathedral, Worcester.  Dates: Saturday, June 17 (Pre-Conference) and Friday-Sunday, June 23-25 (Conference). All events will take place at St. George Orthodox Cathedral.  For more information and to register go to https://www.antiochianevents.org/143


Whenever we have any feast or joy in the Church, we Orthodox first of all look back — for in our present life we depend on what happened in the past. We depend first of all, of course, on the first and the ultimate triumph -- that of Christ Himself. Our faith is rooted in that strange defeat which became the most glorious victory — the defeat of a man nailed to the cross, who rose again from the dead, who is the Lord and the Master of the world. This is the first triumph of Orthodoxy. This is the content of all our commemorations and of all our joy.

   This man selected and chose twelve men, gave them power to preach about that defeat and that victory, and sent them to the whole world saying preach and baptize, build up the Church, announce the Kingdom of God. And you know, my brothers and sisters, how those twelve men — very simple men indeed, simple fishermen — went out and preached. The world hated them, the Roman Empire persecuted them, and they were covered with blood. But that blood was another victory. The Church grew, the Church covered the universe with the true faith. After 300 years of the most unequal conflict between the powerful Roman Empire and the powerless Christian Church, the Roman Empire accepted Christ as Lord and Master. That was the second triumph of Orthodoxy. The Roman Empire recognized the one whom it crucified and those whom it persecuted as the bearers of truth, and their teaching as the teaching of life eternal. The Church triumphed. But then the second period of troubles began.

   The following centuries saw many attempts to distort the faith, to adjust it to human needs, to fill it with human content. In each generation there were those who could not accept that message of the cross and resurrection and life eternal. They tried to change it, and those changes we call heresies. Again there were persecutions. Again, Orthodox bishops, monks and laymen defended their faith and were condemned and went into exile and were covered with blood. And after five centuries of those conflicts and persecutions and discussions, the day came which we commemorate today, the day of the final victory of Orthodoxy as the true faith over all the heresies. It happened on the first Sunday of Lent in the year 843 in Constantinople. After almost 100 years of persecution directed against the worship of the holy icons, the Church finally proclaimed that the truth had been defined, that the truth was fully in the possession of the Church. And since then all Orthodox people, wherever they live, have gathered on this Sunday to proclaim before the world their faith in that truth, their belief that their Church is truly apostolic, truly Orthodox, truly universal. This is the event of the past that we commemorate today.

      - Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, Sunday of Orthodoxy ( from http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/orthodoxy1985.html )